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Avondale College TFS Planting Day—28 May 2014

May 29, 2014

Avondale College horticulture students participating in the Trees For Survival (TFS) program have been coming to CUE Haven since 2009.  Today another great group of 46 Year 12 and Year 13 horticulture students along with four staff members were out for a successful planting day.

We had earlier picked up the plants that the students had grown in their nursery at the school and some of the students took a break from their nursery work and helped us load up the plants.

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This morning, Gail Farrell, our TFS coordinator came out early to lay out the plants at the planting site.

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The students arrived just after ten.  They were dropped off at the road by two big busses and walked up the driveway.

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We got acquainted over morning tea.

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And after a quick group photo, Gail and Mahrukh gave a brief welcome and introduction to the day’s activities. The plan was that the students would be broken into three groups.  Two would be planting while a third would do a Waicare (water care) session with Shelly Hackett and Diane Whitehead of the Auckland Council WaiCare programme.  The groups would rotate so that each group would do both activities.

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Once the students were assigned to the three groups, it was a short walk up to the planting site.

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At the planting site, Gail gave a safety briefing and planting demonstration.

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One group went down to the WaiCare session while two other groups went to work planting.

Each Waicare session lasted forty minutes and the groups rotated so that all students had a chance to do both activities.

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When the planting was finished, the students went around to pick up the empty pots and also put a stake by each tree so we will be able to find the trees when the weeds grow up in the spring and summer.

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They also made sure they collected and cleaned all the equipment.

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In just over two hours, the students managed to plant over 400 trees!  A fantastic effort!!!

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For the Waicare activities, Shelley and Dianne had arrived early and collected water samples from the ponds and streams and set up their equipment.

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For each of the three Waicare sessions, Shelley and Dianne began with a briefing on water quality and wetlands.  The students got an opportunity to learn how their planting efforts improve the water quality throughout the property and ultimately, the neighbouring streams and the Kaipara Harbour.

Shelley and Dianne explained the importance of oxygen, temperature and water pH to plant and animal life and the students did some experiments to test the water.

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The students tested the clarity of the water of samples from different parts of the property.

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They also studied samples of water to identify macroinvertebrates living in the wetlands.  Shelley and Dianne had brought charts and magnifying lenses to help the students study and identify the creatures.

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When the planting and WaiCare sessions were finished it was time for a relaxing lunch.

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The day had started off very cold with the first frost of the season but it turned into a fantastic sunny clear day so by noon it was quite hot. So the Nescafe Menu sachets and the Iced Peach Nestea generously provided by Nestle NZ were most appreciated by everyone in the group during morning tea and lunch. Thank you Nestle NZ!!

After lunch, the students went for a quick walk along the wetlands boardwalk.

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And then it was time to head back to town.

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We’d like to thank John Norton of Avondale College for all his help and support throughout the year in managing the TFS programme at the school and also thank staff Hannah Eyre, Gael Lloyd and Ben Reay who came out and made everything work so well today.

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Gail Farrell has been our TFS coordinator from the beginning and has been with us for each Avondale College planting since 2009 and many thanks to Gail for coordinating and supervising the planting for the day.

And a big thank you to Shelley Hackett and Dianne Whitehead for joining us and for their very educational and enjoyable Waicare sessions.

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We’d also like to thank Auckland Council for making their staff available and for their continued support of our efforts at CUE Haven.

Most of all we want to thank the great Avondale College students for all their efforts with growing the plants and coming out today to plant them.

We had a great time working with you all today and really appreciate all your hard work and enthusiasm.  We were especially happy to see some of the Year 12 students from last year out again this year as Year 13 students.  Great to have you back and we look forward to seeing familiar faces again next year.  We wish you all the best with your studies and future plans and hope all of you will come back in the future to see how your trees have grown!

Thanks again!!

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